Last night Newport Town Council Planning Committee made its full and final decision on the application and came out firmly against it. It was a secret ballot, and furthermore they did not even state what the voting record was by numbers. However, judging by the speeches made by all Councillors willing and able to speak at the meeting, we think the vote was a substantial majority against the application. Our Councillors are to be congratulated for clearly taking a good deal of time, consideration and thought over weighing up the issues – and in the end, though perhaps a little ponderously, it did appear that they had grasped each of the major issues raised by the proposal.
A big appreciation goes to Councillor Mike Phillips, who was unable to attend the previous meeting, but this time actually read out the all important passage about the “12 dwellings” maximum limitation where that appears in the LDP (2010). Although, some other councillors still failed to appreciate that the “other figure” (of “20 units”) does not appear in any later or supplementary planning document; but rather appears inconsistently elsewhere in the very same LDP (2010) – for legal significance see here.
As expected, Councillors were at great pains to explain that as a body and indeed as individual members of the community, they were all very keen and dedicated to the greater future provision of affordable housing in Newport, as indeed are we. However, all those who spoke in the end agreed that the current proposal, with regard to the scale and density of open – market housing, was excessively large and could not be justified by the minority proportion of so-called “social rented housing” which was contemplated.
So an important battle won – but the war still goes on. Hopefully this decision though, will have a significant impact on the ultimate thinking of the National Park’s Planning Committee Membership. Finally, a big thanks to all our supporters who both turned out last night yet again, and those who have been quietly lobbying in advance. You all deserve a big drink.